Energy Efficient Retrofits Dangerously Increasing Indoor Radon Levels
Recent research into the amount of indoor radon concentrations in our homes suggests that the planet’s need to create more energy efficient living is also leading to increased radon related cancer deaths.
UK Radon Awareness week is seeking to increase the notoriety of this relatively unknown and significant danger lurking within our homes.
According to research from Public Health England and UCL, indoor radon concentrations vary massively in the UK with older homes undergoing fabric energy efficient retrofits likely to suffer from higher indoor radon concentrations than those without.
Older homes with newly fitted double glazed windows are likely to suffer from an additional 67% radon pollution than dwellings with no recorded retrofit.
Loft and wall insulation retrofits were also likely to accrue 47% and 32% more radon levels respectively.
Radon is the second highest cause of lung cancer in the UK after tobacco and claims over 1,100 lives per year.
Radon figures will be uncomfortable reading for the Government as they look to balance environmental obligations, through lowering carbon levels, with a need to provide safe homes.
The Labour Party have declared their commitment to the environment through their recent ‘zero carbon’ pledge implemented through ‘Warm Homes for All’ policies, promising £60 million worth of investment to upgrade all older homes with energy efficient alternatives, like double glazing and roof insulation, by 2022, if they are elected.
Dr Aaron Goodarzi, the Canada research chair for radiation exposure disease, commented:
“Radon exposure is a worsening problem due to the evolving nature of our built environment. Lung cancer is the highest lethality cancer type known and rates continue to rise in non-smokers.
“There is no reason why it should continue to take the lives of thousands upon thousands of people each year. The first step towards preventing cancer-causing radon exposure to yourself and your family is to test your home.”
Martin Roberts, property expert and presenter of Homes Under the Hammer, said:
“The lack of awareness about radon and its health dangers is shocking – and it’s something that could be in any of our homes.
“By installing double glazing or insulating our lofts, we’re rightly doing our bit to help the environment, and our wallets, but people need to consider and counteract the knock-on effect it might have on our health.
“Checking your house for radon is a cheap and easy process and for the sake of yourself and your family you need to do it now. Improving home energy efficiency is a vital part of meeting carbon reduction targets, but simple measures can prevent the health of our nation suffering as a result.”